I recently took a trip back home through the back roads of my mind in my '38 Ford. Over time the old home place deteriorated and became haggard and frail. Current owners have fixed it up. I urged Huldy to Calvertville School and walked up the long steps and got a drink at the water fountain remembering Miss Dillon, Mrs. Harshman and Mrs. Hobson. At the feed mill I talked to Bill Crites and Mose Vandeventer and ate an Eskimo pie at the store with Elmer Burch. I drove by the Tulip school climbed up the bank and sat on the rails of the Tulip Viaduct.
In Bloomfield I drank a soda at Pielemier's Drug Store and noticed that Roy Rogers and Gabby Hays were on at the Citadel, ate a burger at the Varsity, shopped at Spark's Store, and went west past The Evening World and the park. The REMC reminded me that mom won a stove, refrigerator and other appliances at the annual meetings. In the Switz City gym I remembered that I played in the first official basketball game. My dad would smile and ask, "Guess who was whistled for the first foul ever in that place? My boy."
I filled'er up at the HI Q LO P and continued to the drive-in where I spent many happy hours with my sweet face. Closed is now playing. The park and old 4-H fairgrounds were next. On talent night one year a five piece band from WJHS played in the stone bandshell and the crowd would not let them off the stage. They played "Hold That Tiger" till their lips fuzzled. I was the trumpeter in that group.
I drove into Linton past Klusemiers, Freeman Hospital and the Cine theater to the old high school. At Worthington, I passed the fields where I detassled corn, Freeman's abattoir, the Highway 67 café, and got a shake at Bailey's Frozen Custard Stand. Thence past Diamond Point and Sloan's Seed House, and Standard Station, shot a game of pool, hurried past the tavern for a sack of popcorn at the State Theater and a candy bar at Tresslar's Five and Dime. The Rexall Drug store and Western Auto were next and across to the old post office, Rollison's Hardware the Busy Bee where I drank a marshmallow Pepsi and visited with Hobart and Dimple in the bank.
From there I could see the Royal Palms Tavern, two elevators, the Triangle restaurant, Star Electric, Ingall's jewelry and Trent's and Dixon's barber shops where we got our ears lowered. Goodwin's garage and Bob and Gayle's grocery were on down the way.
From the Carnegie Library I could see the Williams House, the Hedden Hotel, the train station and the Marathon. On West Main Street we passed the Times office and Drs. Moses and Christian and Methodist churches. At Dayton Street I stopped and went inside the old school building to the top floor and revisited the study hall and library where I courted a sweet faced librarian then to "My Store," chatted with Mrs. Davis and bought a B-B-Bat. I played a pick-up game in the new gym with Jack Brannon, Chet Flynn, Jim Duckworth, Jim Workman and the Warren boys. At halftime I played in the Rambler band. Outside I strolled around the Greene County Fairgrounds and ate a snow cone and checked on my exhibits and got a yardstick.
As dusk 2009 approached and stepped inside my mind and in a moment of reflection and rumination I wondered "where is the town I used to know?" I miss the way it used to be.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at Larry Vandeventer 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.